As the school year comes to a close, I know it is an odd time for me to share my thoughts on forming a college-student appropriate budget. However, when I’m not in classes and have more free time, I end up spending a slightly higher amount than usual because I’m going out with friends more, going out to eat more, etc. It’s interesting, and kind of weird, but true. I have my own very specific form of budgeting, but I wanted to share two options with you: first, my personal budgeting style, which you can also form, and second, a more standardized budget that you can also personalize.
My personalized budget includes the areas that I typically spend money. Flex dollars is the amount of money that is part of meal plan that I am allowed to spend at certain off campus locations. This is a super simple budget layout, but it is effective, and allows me to keep track of my expenses. I keep track on a weekly basis, then total up how much money I spend in an entire month. This is definitely one of the easiest methods to keep track of expenses, but it is helpful!
The second option for budgeting is either a monthly or semesterly method. This includes way more areas of your spending, but it can be super helpful. If some of these expenses don’t apply to you, then you can also exclude them from your own spreadsheet, or keep them and simply put, “$0.00” in the box. This is a much more in-depth budget planning system, but some people prefer this way.
As for storing receipts, you also have two options. I keep the paper copies in a huge folder in order by date of purchase or transaction. Some people prefer to scan all receipts, then file them by date on a computer. It’s up to you as to which method is easier or better, but I prefer to keep original copies because I’m old fashioned, I suppose. Either way, I recommend keeping track of receipts because you never know when you’ll need them. Budgeting can be hard because if you don’t keep up on it, its easier to fall behind and get lost with your finances. So, as part of spring cleaning, make creating a budget for yourself a priority!